People who are most likely to express interest in your product or service make up your target market. The challenge of marketing lies in finding the people who are most likely to want what you’re selling, and then getting them to buy.
Correctly targeting your market saves time, money and effort in your advertising. Using a common scenario, rather than spattering buckshot everywhere in the hopes of hitting your target, targeted marketing is like using a rifle: with repetition and focused adjustment, the odds of you hitting what you aim for are much higher.
What follows are 5 ways you can refine your targets.
Differentiate your products from similar ones out there.
Take a closer look at the common items in your household and medicine cabinet. Why did you pick your brand of toothpaste, or laundry detergent? Check the packaging if you have to. Toothpaste is toothpaste– it cleans your teeth, no more, no less. Detergent gets your clothes clean. What is about the brands you chose that made you choose them? That is product differentiation. You emphasize a certain feature or aspect about your product that holds it above similar products, and you market using that emphasis.
Define your niche by narrowing down the market.
The smaller the niche, the better the fit between your services and the market for it, which can lead to a long-lasting relationship (brand loyalty) with loads of mutual benefits.
For additional reading about specialized niches and really small markets, we suggest visiting this page on Change This to download the Long Tail manifesto written by Chris Anderson (Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine).
The site promotes his manifesto by saying that “the future belongs to those that serve the millions of untapped niche markets as well as they serve the masses. Read his manifesto to find out how unlimited shelf space and personalization can revolutionize your business.”
Select, read and use the resources of your target market.
When you learn to navigate your target market successfully, you’ll be able to predict with measurable success (and prepare to take advantage of) the trends and shifts in the market. You develop a feel for what’s coming, and based on this business-intuition, can shift to ride the head of the wave.
As in any money-making venture, you can get ahead, get in and out earlier (ensuring the continued survival of your business) by being in the know. A few good ways to get in on the behind-the-scenes action is by subscribing to industry magazines and newsletters, joining industry and trade associations on-line and in-the-flesh.
Sell what the target market wants to buy, not what you want to sell.
You have to realize that it’s the market that drives the sellers. You can’t sell what people won’t buy (or don’t see a need to buy or pick over other competitors), which usually slots into the following factors: convenience, price, and quality. Find out what they want, and the reasons behind this wanting. Once you get this key data, you can tailor your products to fit, unlocking the doors to success.
Determine if you’re a product or market driven business.
A product-driven business focuses on making the best products it can in its niche, updating features with the market demands and shifts. A market-driven business is led by customer wants and needs, by the leading trends in the market. Witness the explosion of merchandise and tie-ins associated with blockbuster movies and teen trends.
One excellent example of a product-driven business that positioned itself perfectly is Victorinox. Best known for its knives and multi-purpose tools; the company sticks to the items that made them, only updating to fit the needs of the market.
Founded in 1884, the knife manufacturer has been the sole supplier of knives to the Swiss Army (a steady, solid market for its products) since 2005.The leaders of the company kept the main bread and butter of their business alive (knives) and branched out. See, a company doesn’t survive 125 years without adapting to the times. Witness the SwissCard and their line of multi-tools. Victorinox also diversified into kitchen cutlery, watches and even flashlights.
These are just the most basic goals you need to clarify when you draw up your marketing plan. They can help you align your specific business goals, refine your marketing strategies, and guide you in the fast-shifting environment of your chosen field. And as in any fast-moving area, keep them in mind, be alert and know when you need to re-align your goals.
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